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Arts & Culture

Live Active Cultures

It’s good to be a geek: Fanboy-friendly entertainments abound

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The following Saturday, at a Q&A conducted inside the Orange County Regional History Center’s yearlong Universal exhibit, senior special effects manager Brad Ritti revealed that the five-minute production required more than 350 pieces of pyrotechnics, three “shooter” locations and eight crew members, all coordinated to match a two-second window mandated by the 270-mph flyover. I’m just thankful I still have my eyebrows – and that I didn’t have to stand in line for four hours to experience the ride, like some guests did during opening weekend.

Finally, in another geek-friendly development, there are several Orlando establishments that integrate alcohol with arcades (notably Spacebar and BART) but I think I’ve finally found a worthy replacement for the long-closed Rocky’s Replay.

With its strip-mall location, darkened windows and cramped curtained foyer, Player 1 (player1orlando.com) feels, at first, a little like a strip club for the Atari-obsessed set, a sense reinforced by the comely staff cosplaying as Xena and Jill Valentine. A $5 cover ($35 annual memberships are available to the first 100 to sign up) allows unlimited play on 30-odd vintage standup machines (including Punch-Out, Star Wars and Twilight Zone pinball) and numerous consoles, retro and current. Some of the most interesting items (a Turtles in Time coin-op, an Atari ST computer) are inoperable, but the draft beer list is deep (loved my $5 Left Hand milk stout) and the decor is full of dorky details (Vectrex cartridges! Infocom boxes!). With places like Player 1 around, it’s good to be a geek.

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